Why Huawei's Android Ban Isn't The End Of The World
There’s been a lot of speculation recently about just how much the U.S trade ban on Huawei is going to affect the Chinese based brand. The major blow which has been widely reported is that Android, the OS which Huawei use to operate their phones - has been pulled from their upcoming device and licence revoked. Although this sounds pretty significant, not all is lost.
It was reported that Huawei had in fact been preparing for such a scenario for a while now, particularly with President Trump's recent comments in regards to Huawei being a potential security threat, which to this day, still hasn’t been explained or proven. Huawei has announced that their new OS could launch as early as October 2019 in China and 2020 internationally which is pretty remarkable when you think about the time needed to launch a completely new OS with app support.
But this raises the question if Huawei already had this new operating system in the pipeline for a while now, why wasn’t it already announced months back? Well, the answer is quite simple.
The Vice President at Huawei Enterprise Middle East has said "We did not want to bring [our new] OS to the market as we had a strong relationship with Google and others and did not want to ruin the relationship"
Interesting, this OS has apparently been in development since as far back as 2012 which is some pretty good forward thinking if you ask me. The good news is, this new OS will be completely compatible with all existing Android-based applications and all web apps. But, and there is a big but; initial reports suggest that it’s not flawless and “has it’s ups and downs and remains far from ready”. I can only imagine how hard it’s been for the Huawei and Honor PR/Marketing teams the past few weeks, but there does appear to be efforts to reassure current customers that the difficulty with the Android OS will not compromise the security or functionality of their devices.
The wider issue isn’t actually Google with Android, but instead the chipset Huawei use from the UK based company ARM. The reason for this is that ARM supplies the majority of smartphone manufactures with their chipsets, and unfortunately some of the chipsets Huawei use have U.S design in them. This means that Huawei will have to pretty much manufacture all their own parts. Even with this setback, Huawei still doesn’t seem too phased, recently stating “The U.S. sanctions won't affect the company's operating system and the chipsets in any way as we are self-reliant in many aspects. We have all the chipsets except the Intel chips for PCs and servers. Every single storage player in the market is using Qualcomm chipset and we are the only one using our own chipset. That is why we can go at the speed we want."
Of course, all of this has to be taken with a grain of salt. With the U.S not being overly public about their reasons for banning Huawei from trading with the U.S and the apparent “security risks” - and Huawei due to their clear internal communication struggle with what the actual plan is over the next few months.
I suppose the only thing we can do is sit back and watch, but for now - there doesn’t seem to be anything immediate to worry about. Lower your pitchforks.